Category: Short Stories



Our "not so social" visitor (c)musicgal2012

Our “not so social” visitor
(c)musicgal2012

We are fortunate to have some unusual visitors at times. This Blue Tongue Lizard was spotted as he crossed through our side yard this morning. He was very aware of human presence and did his best to look casual, as only a lizard can, whilst striving to set a blistering pace on those itty bitty legs. Very cute!!

 

©musicgal2012 10/11/13

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If Pa is older than the Queen, does that mean he's the "King" ?

If Pa is older than the Queen, does that mean he’s the “King” ?

Young son Jordan sits deep in contemplation. Nan’s 80th birthday has just passed and he’s got a lot on his mind. “Mum”, he asks. Pa’s older than Nan isn’t he?” “Yes” comes the intrigued motherly reply. “How old is he”, he asks? “Ninety Two, he’ll be Ninety Three at the end of this year”, is the reply. Young sons eye brows rise in amazement. “How old is the Queen”, he asks? “I think she’s 80”, says Mum. “Wow, that makes him older than the Queen”! “So, he was around before the Queen was. Does that mean he’s the KING”? It’s Mum’s turn to raise her eyebrows. “Yep. He sure is”!

(c)musicgal2012 – All rights reserved


Parachute humor (humour, for non USA folks).


Cracks in the Earth

Cracks in the EarthThese cracks have been known to go down 60 - 80 Feet.

 
These cracks have been known to go down 60 – 80 Feet.

Black Soil Plains

The black self-mulching clay of the Moree Basin is constantly on the move.  In summer it bakes in the hot sun much like a large chocolate cake. As moisture evaporates in its rich core, cracks open across its surface; form into a network of veins to score its fleshy crust. These cracks can be wide enough to swallow an unwary foot and have been known to go as deep as 60 – 80 feet.

When it rains, the soil swells and the cracks close. A crust of earth will form like icing over the top concealing any evidence of their presence. At times this crust can form before the cracks have fully closed. This can prove perilous for unwary feet and the odd gumboot can be dislodged this way.  It can also break an animal/human leg.

With moderate rain, the clay becomes extremely sticky and will build up on the soles of shoes to the point that bare feet can be the only option. If there is enough rain the surface becomes a giant bog ready to engulf a foot half way up to the knee. Cars bog.  4WD’s struggle and or bog, it is wise to stay on gravel or tarred surfaces.  Large machinery can go down to their sumps.

These cracks serve as a natural habitat for the local fauna. Insects, mice, reptiles and probably many other creatures use them to shelter from the torments of nature.

The self-mulching action of the soil as it constantly opens and closes airates the earth and renews the top soil as the old surface topples into the deep cracks.

The Moree Plains is a rich mixture of moving, breathing, chocolate earthen cake. Although it may look good  I don’t think I’ll take a bite.  🙂

 

(c) musicgal2012 Lorelle Press

 


Photo Credit: Flickr.com. Photos.

Photo Credit: Flickr.com. Photos.

Whilst sitting in my pergola yesterday evening, a mere few strides from my veranda steps, a black (probably a western brown) snake slithers its way between my two dogs and under the house. Great ! It then plays hide and seek with my cat along the wooden borders that line the garden bed at the base of the veranda. Great !

This morning I’m about to put my horse’s breakfast into her food bin (20m from the house) which is a cut down shuttle on a pallet. What do I see? The same reptile, casually cruising away from me and you probably guessed it…..straight under the pallet.  WTF !!  I had to move the horse to another spot to feed her. Also, her water trough is gunked up with algae because of the sun and heat. To clean it I usually reach under and remove the bung to drain it. It’s so NOT happening at the moment!!

I’ve developed a dislike for leaf litter and any grass longer than 2cm. You can’t see them. All you might hear is a slight rustle. I’d love to burn it all so there’s nothing but bare earth but the council frowns on such things at the moment. There’s a total fire ban and the farmers would not be amused if there crops went up with it ;). 

It would liven up the place though 🙂

Out of millions and dillions of acres jam packed with reptile delicacies why oh why do they want to move in with us?  They don’t “just pass through” it wouldn’t be so bad if they did. THEY STAY !!  I find myself  constantly side stepping them which isn’t funny when there are small children and animals and it’s so easy to step on them.  I feel like a reptile magnet.

 This one’s only about 4′ long compared with one we had this time last year. It was a 7′ king brown which was hell bent on drinking from my dogs water at the base of the veranda steps and didn’t give a stuff if we were next to it. We have dams. What’s so good about the dogs water? Maybe dog spit tastes better than cow spit ?

I’m not impressed !!

Squint


Squint has progressed so much in the last couple of weeks. By day he sits in the nest with his mother but at night things change. He is now flying and the other night he landed in a tree about 10 feet away from me. He is now a hunter in his own right but still remains under the watchful gaze of his protective parents as they perch in the nearby trees.
(c) musicgal 2012


We have had no descent rain for …..mmm ages.

For a couple of months we’ve had to buy drinking water or carry it from another tank as the water in the house tank had been contaminated by tree leaves and dirt. Two weeks ago my husband decided to dump the sour water and climb into the empty rain water tank to clean it out. Two inches (5cm) of scumy water still remained in its base because the drain holes are not set at the absolute bottom of the tank.  In this all the goollies had gathered themselves. Festering in something that resembled and smelt like black swamp soup.   Yummy !!

The whole cut into the side of the rainwater tank by the SES Rescue Services to free my “Bandaged Bear”.
(c)musicgal2012 Lorelle Press

However the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. The process of trying to sweep and bucket the residue towards the drainhole proved to be a waste of time. The hole was so small and just too high for the water to escape. The Husband decided to raise the tank slightly (with a fork lift) on one side in the hope of collecting the majority of the water in one place. A great plan. Well, it would have been if he hadn’t slipped over. The fall didn’t hurt him but the landing was absolutely horrid. We think he collected the central support pole as he went down because it was on the tank floor next to him. The impact dislocated and fractured his shoulder. He laid in the rancid water moaning, unable to get up off the floor because of the immense pain. The opening on top of the tank is very small. There was no way I could get him out.

The Drain Hole – What Rocket Scientist thought of this one? Note the Black Swamp Soup. Yummy !
(c)musicgal2012 Lorelle Press

I rang for the emergency services OOO asking for the ambulance and told them where he was. Well the news of an injured man trapped in a rainwater tank certainly stirs up some action. We may be isolated in many ways but our emergency services are equal to any in the city. The Ambulance arrived first but they were unable to do anything for him until the SES arrived to cut a hole in the tank. All they could seem to say to us was “how did you get in there?”  Really, how do you think he got in there?  A Police Detective turned up to check whether there were any suspicious circumstances….yeah, like they think I shoved him in there. Unreal !! I was actually an Amazon in a previous life.

More Black Swamp Soup and a part of the central support pole that once held up the roof.
(c)musicgal2012 Lorelle Press

All this on his Birthday. It’s unbelievable the extent he went to not to have a party. Around 25 to 30 people were about to descend on the local Tavern at 6.30pm to celebrate his 53rd Birthday. It was 3.30pm and where was he? In a rainwater tank and it was obvious that he wouldn’t be there with them.  Thankfully, it didn’t take long to free him. He was around five hours at the local hospital. Xrayed, shoulder relocated and drugged to the eyeballs for the pain. A most unpleasant time indeed. Around 8.30pm I drove him home. Totally miserable, with a very large sling pinning his arm to his side. A NOT SO HAPPY Birthday Hubby !

He is finding the loss of mobility and the constant pain very hard to cope with. Limited  driving (NO manual vehicles), lifting, cutting up anything food wise, dressing, showering. Think about it, we take so many things that we do for granted. It hits hard when for whatever reason, suddenly you just can’t do them. It will be a long healing process before he can use his arm properly again.  He has a new name tag now, I call him my Bandaged Bear.

A Footnote: I am still carrying water.

On the basis that what you don’t see can’t hurt you. I have come to the conclusion that ignorance truly is bliss as well. It strengthens my resolve that I really am ten foot tall and bullet proof. Right on Sunset last night one visit to the shed water tank was Ok. Two visits….eeer not so much. The company was decidedly unfriendly when I returned. Just as I reached down to open the valve leading to the tap on the rainwater tank a scuttling sound jarred me to a sharp halt. In the corner of my eye a dark slithering shape whipped away  into the grass. Nice ! It seems I wasn’t the only one who was thirsty.

Don’t you just want to find a dark corner to climb into and rock sometimes?

(c)musicgal2012 Lorelle Press


As promised here are more of Rachelle’s “gems” taken during her recent excursion to Sydney.

The night view from Centerpoint Tower

This shot is an amazing mixture of the actual view and reflections on the glass of the tower itself.
(c)musicgal2012 Lorelle Press


On the way to the top. Sydney Harbour Bridge viewed from the pedestrian passage way.
(c)musicgal2012 Lorelle Press

Recently my youngest daughter went on her first major school excursion. The trip took four days. Two of which where spent travelling. She had spent the entire year in the height of excitment. Absolutely determined that she was going. At ten years old, it’s a huge thing to get onto a big Tour Bus with all your school mates. To leave home and parents for the first time. To set foot in the exciting (and a little scary) big world. Eleven hours later they would arrive in the “big smoke” – Sydney.

Armed with a tiny video/camera ($79 from Target, a memory card and 3 AAA batteries + spares) she recorded her journey. The results of her photographic endevours are absolutely amazing. Over the next few days I will post some of her “gems”.

A glass building with reflections of the street below
Taken from the bus window.
(c)musicgal2012 Lorelle Press

The Mono Rail.
The best mode of transport for all things “Tourist”.(c)musicgal2012 Lorelle Press

 

The Mono Rail is the easiest mode of transport in the City CBD. It travels to all the major tourist destinations such as the Musiums, the Aquarium and the Harbour Side.

(c)musicgal2012 Lorelle Press


In the darkest hours of November 26, 2008, somewhere on the flat Plains of New South Wales Australia, a monster storm front brewed and frothed like peculated coffee. Hosting savage wind gusts of well over 100 km /hour. It ravaged everything in its twisted path. We lay directly in that path and it was more than ready to spit us through its ugly teeth.

A severe storm warning sounded throughout the sleeping township of Moree, but it was 11.30pm and many were asleep. They would not know what hit them, nor would we. Our farm lay ten km south of town. Our electricity was already out. All we could hear was the wind. To us, it was just another violent summer storm.

It was mid harvest time. The Grain Storage Silo in town was besieged with trucks, as their drivers waited for their turn to unload.  Word quickly passed down along the line-up. Bad weather was on the way. Along with that dreaded word, Tornado.

My husband also waited in that line. He knew I was at home alone with the kids and that we would be in bed, asleep. Several times he tried to call me on the landline phone but he couldn’t get through. It went out with the power. He tried to reach me on the mobile phone. I couldn’t hear him, the wind was too loud. Abandoning the truck he raced for the Utility. Home was a twenty minute drive. He knew the storm was already on us.

It struck at midnight. Enormous pressure built up around the house. A mighty fist punched against its walls, and tried to force it off its footings. The roar of the wind drowned our voices. We secured the doors and windows. We heard everything slide and crash outside. We did what we always do, huddled in the safest area of the house and waited.

 

There was a drum storage area in our western paddock that contained around eighty 44gallon drums. Unknown to us, they were airborne and spewed through the sky like a massive salt or pepper shaker. Some killed livestock and smashed into trees and fences. Many landed in the dam and some in the house yard. Others landed over half a kilometre away.

Trees twisted like giant cork screws. Some snapped off at the ground, others eight to ten meters higher up. Most of them looked as if they had just been savaged. The roller door of my stable was torn off. It was slammed into the chook yard fence.

An old caravan was picked up by the wind and hurled onto its back. The power lines came down, their cross arms snapped like twigs. A tree in our front paddock received a direct hit from a lightning bolt. It was on fire and its sap boiled all the way into the earth.

 

Our neighbours two new rain water tanks travelled through the paddocks and were eventually found half way to town. That’s about eight km’s away. They may have passed my husband as he was trying to get home to tell us that this was no ordinary storm. He arrived just as the worst of it had passed.

It wasn’t just one Tornado. There had been an unknown number of them.  The monster had dragged its heathen claws and gored great weaving scars across the landscape. Leaving some things destroyed others untouched. The power of nature had vented itself upon us all and we were truly blessed that no lives had been lost.

Moree received its VERY rude awakening about 20 minutes later. ….

© musicgal2012 – Lorelle Press